EIDHR: Humanitarian, or Europe’s Trojan Horse in Israel?

The IRIS blog has posted several reports recently concerning New Israel Fund, J Street and efforts to compel registration of foreign funded NGO’s. An investigative report in The Jerusalem Post adds further fuel to the necessity for laws which act against foreign funded NGO’s by begging the question, European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: Funding Humanitarian Needs, or Europe’s Trojan Horse Lobby in Israel?:

Between 2002 and 2008, the European Parliament’s European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) granted a total of $14 million to various Israeli NGOs. $5.5 million was directed specifically to causes for Palestinians such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s project “Building a Better Future: Empowering the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem to access their planning and house [sic] rights” which received $135,000. A further $7 million went specifically to programs that benefit Israeli Arabs such as the al-Awna fund’s “Master Plan for the Unrecognized Beduin Villages: Securing minority rights for housing and social services” which received $263,000. Even when the EIDHR funded programs for women it did so only for programs for Beduin or Israeli Arab women, except for a token $100,000 it gave to an organization called Isha le Isha (Woman to Woman) which helps fight women trafficking.

There was not one cent directed specifically towards any of the numerous and diverse Jewish communities in Israel: Ethiopians, Russians, Yemenites, Persians or Jews from the Caucasus. The only mention of Jewish citizens as potential recipients was in a grant to the Mossawa Center, the advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel. It received $402,000 for a project that “aims to combat racism and transform inter-communal relations between target groups who include the Jewish majority, Arab minority and ethnic groups including the Russian, Ethiopian, Mizrahi and Reform Jewish communities.”

Around $73,000 was directed towards former IDF soldiers. It wasn’t to help them with trauma or reward them for a “shared citizenship.” It was to get them to “break the silence” about what they witnessed while in the army, to provide testimony that might lead to a process whereby European courts might put the soldiers or their officers on trial for war crimes. Of course that is not what Breaking the Silence stated for the public. They described their project as “personal encounters with former Israeli combat soldiers.”

THE EIDHR’s “instrument” to affect Israeli policy is merely the tip of the iceberg. In its November 2009 report “Trojan Horse: The impact of European government funding for Israeli NGOs” NGO Monitor illustrated that individual European embassies in Israel and other EU projects give lavishly to Israeli NGOs, sometimes even making up the majority of their budgets. In fact “foreign-funded local NGOs are responsible for a significant portion of the petitions brought before the Israeli High Court of Justice,” says the report.

The EU, realizing it could not get Israel to change its laws through diplomatic means, has resorted to creating an internal lobby within Israel to get Israel to bend to the will of Europe.

An important question not answered in this investigative report is to what extent the money trail covered in Im Tirzu’s report on New Israel Fund leads back to the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. Presumably this is just the tip of the iceberg.